‘Reacher’ Season 2 Episode 6 Recap: “New York’s Finest” 

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Reacher (2022)

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This one goes out to Gaitano “Guy” Russo, NYPD, who didn’t deserve to go out like that, shot down by another batch of Shane Langston’s rent-a-thugs. After the events of Reacher Episode 4 (“A Night at the Symphony”), we were casting suspicions on Russo, because while Reacher had found cause to trust the detective, somebody was also blabbing about the special investigators’ movements to Langston, and it certainly seemed like that somebody was Russo. But no. (Sorry, Guy!) Just like Russo declared at Franz’s funeral, he was never the bent one. Instead, the informer was his boss, Lieutenant Marsh. And in a meaty scene between Domenick Lombardozzi and Al Sapienza tinged with police guilt over 9/11 and Russo’s long personal history with Marsh, we learn that Langston leaned on the lieutenant with a truckload of cash. Russo’s disgusted – “You’re NYPD and you’re aiding and abetting terrorists?” – and he lets Reacher know that he refused Marsh’s urging to get with the dirty program. In these moments, Lombardozzi informs his character’s natural saltiness with a wonderful glimmer of resignation that borders on despair. With that argument, Russo knew Marsh would sell him out to Langston. Which is exactly what happens. And now we’ll never get to see Gaitano “Guy” enjoy another chicken cutlet sang-wich out in Staten Island.

As this episode drives toward Russo’s fateful shootout with Langston’s hired hitters, we also check in on A.M., the shapeshifting weapons broker/psychopath whose trail of bodies now stretches from Los Angeles, through Denver, and onward to New Jersey, where he murders a state trooper as she runs his stolen ID. A.M. in NJ means his NYC transaction with Langston is nigh, a transaction where A.M. will collect microchips uploaded with software to make his 650 Little Wing missile launchers operable. It’s a detail learned by Reacher when he catches up with Marlo Burns (Christina Cox), the New Age operations director who went on the run with her daughter after feeding the team the false address in Queens. Burns is actually full of useful information. “He’s the one trying to stop all of this,” she says of former 110’er Tony Swan. It was Burns who hired Swan at New Age, in order to bust up Shane Langston’s “incestuous” security fiefdom at the company, which he’d stocked with dirty ex-NYPD cops like himself. While this doesn’t prove Swan’s alive – knowing Langston, he probably isn’t, but still – it does absolve their former team member of complicity in the murders of Franz, Sanchez, and Orazco, and of gunning for Reacher and the surviving special investigators.

That knowledge is a load of Reacher’s giant brain. In the run-up to their meeting with Burns, he was still ruminating over what he’d do if his former colleague and friend was revealed as a turncoat. In fact, he was still mulling it over, even after Dixon took the initiative on another kind of special investigation – in the bedroom. “We’ve been attacked by bikers, shot at by hitmen, and almost blown up,” she tells the big fella as she takes off her shirt. “I mean, to put it mildly, I’ve got some pent up tension.” And Reacher, a man known to uphold mantras such as “assumptions kill,” “details matter,” and “sleep when you can,” says of the last one that it’s not written in stone.


(An interesting note of trivia here: when Neagley rousts Reacher and Dixon from their latest romantic escapade, she says “Habille-vous vite, patron,” as in “Dress quickly, boss.” Neagley would know that Reacher understood her, given that his late mother, Josephine Moutier Reacher, was a French national. And Maria Sten, who is Danish, is also fluent in French. But Reacher himself, of course, has to get in the pedantic zinger. “She should’ve used the informal “tous.”)  

With Marlo Burns willing to help bait Langston into the open, Reacher drops her daughter with Russo. He’ll bring her to his cousin’s in Staten Island. But that’s not how it happens. At all. And there’s a great scene where Lombardozzi’s whole face changes, as Russo realizes Langston had shooters sitting on his place the whole time. What follows is a frantic pitched battle across two fronts. As Reacher and the team’s ambush of Langston in a muddy truck yard completely goes to hell, Russo races away from the car full of gunmen as he protects Burns’s daughter from flying bullets. Reacher immediately sends Neagley, Dixon, and O’Donnell to intercept while he stays behind to exterminate Langston’s latest round of goons. (In one instance, this involves snapping his assailant’s neck against the guardrail inside an abandoned city bus. When it comes to death dealing, one thing Reacher’s gonna do is use what’s available.) Russo knows Neagley and the rest won’t make it to his location in time. Sending the girl running for cover, he returns fire, and takes two shots to the chest while covering her exit. And back at the truck yard – “It’s just you and me now, Langston!” – that murderous bastard calls an audible in the form of a helicopter gunship.   


Gaitano “Guy” Russo, we hardly knew you. For a minute, we even thought you were a bad guy. But it turns out you were exactly the kind of person Reacher would have picked to be part of his special investigators – perceptive, pragmatic, tough, and willing to do whatever it takes. And with Reacher separated from his team and running from approaching sirens, Neagley takes Russo’s hand in her own as he bleeds out beneath an overpass. There goes New York’s finest.

Johnny Loftus (@glennganges) is an independent writer and editor living at large in Chicagoland. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, All Music Guide, Pitchfork Media, and Nicki Swift.